Monday, November 30, 2015

UP hosts first CUPSCon, features Public Service through Genetics and Health Promotion

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA – Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from various parts of Luzon gathered for the inaugural Colleges and Universities Public Service Conference (CUPSCon1) hosted by the University of the Philippines last November 26-27,2015. This is the second installment of CUPSCon1 with the first held on November 16-17 in UP Cebu and participated by HEIs from Visayas and Mindanao.

The two-day conference with the theme "From the Ivory Tower to the Communities: Engaging Society with Commitment and Expertise" was held at UP Open University (UPOU) and it featured plenary and parallel sessions on the policies and projects of HEIs that benefit sectors outside the university community. 

According to the UPLB OVCRE website, the use of the "ivory tower" allusion in the UP community dates back to the challenge set in the 1950's by UP College of Agriculture Dean Dioscoro Umali who encouraged the faculty to apply their expertise on actual problems experienced in the countryside. This challenge led to UPCA's golden age of extension during Dr. Umali's term.

CUPSCon1 covered various topics such as community-engaged teaching and learning, institutionalization of community engagement and public service, knowledge-driven volunteerism, community engagement and public service; and university-industry linkages and engagements. 

Conference Keynote

UP Diliman CSSP Dean Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay
Photo: UPLB Research and Extension
Participants of the conference were formally welcomed by UPOU Chancellor Grace  Alfonso followed by a video message from UP President Alfredo Pascual. Pres. Pascual noted that UP’s strong commitment to academic advancement and public service have started long before the enactment of the UP Charter (RA 9500). He also enjoined attending HEIs to participate in next year’s AsiaEngage Conference.

First to address the conference plenary was UP Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) Dean Dr. Grace H. Aguiling-Dalisay who delivered the conference’s keynote talk entitled “Public Service in Higher Education: Why it Matters.” Dean Dalisay is an expert in developmental psychology, volunteering and civic participation, and sikolohiyang Pilipino

Dr. Dalisay emphasized the importance of engagement in the context of public service and said "what matters is that we constantly think of how we can contribute as a university." As an example, she noted the existence of public service initiatives in the top universities – UP, La Salle, Ateneo and UST, although varying in name and formation. 

The CSSP dean also mentioned that “volunteering is not the only form of public service, but it is an important form.” She added that volunteer programs are important pathways in advancing the goal of higher education and “regardless of academic field, there is a room for volunteering.” Recognizing this, CSSP is reviving UP Diliman’s Ugnayan ng Pahinungod at the college-level through Ugnayan ng Pahinungod – CSSP. Dean Dalisay previously served as the UP Diliman and UP System Pahinungod coordinator.

Dalisay also called for a collaboration on the revival of UPOU’s online volunteer service management course, as well as the increased support and consideration of academic leaders in encouraging and rewarding faculty engagement to public service. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

SWEET REPEAT | Back-to-back championships for GeneSoc in PalaCASan 2015

The UPLB Genetics Society members and players during Game 3 of Men's Basketball Finals.
The UPLB Genetics Society finishes the PalaCASan 2015 season with two-peat championships in men's basketball and women's badminton tournament.

Two-time PalaCASan Most Valuable Player Gian Lorenz Vergara led the squad in the Game 3 of men's basketball finals series against SAM-UP on Saturday, November 21, at LBNHS, finishing with a combined 36 explosive points with Torre to seize that 49-44 victory and once again bring home the title to the organization.

GeneSoc import and PalaCASan 2015 Hugot of the Year Albert Torre told the GENEWS team that it is the pride of being the defending champion that pushed them to claim the victory once more, “Yung mindset na dapat 2-peat! 2-peat! ‘yun talaga yung nagdrive samin na manalo sa game... kahit na may mga nawala nang players at medyo nahirapan kami mag-adjust, nakuha rin naman namin yung rhythm sa paglalaro.”

Justin Moran, senior BA Sociology
student and GeneSoc import.

Moreover, Justin Moran, another GeneSoc import, explained that the team's defense and communication inside the court nagivated their way to the championship, "Feeling ko 'yun yung reason kung bakit kami nakahabol kasi sa rebound nakapag box out kami, nakabuo kami ng stint." Also, he revealed that playing for the organization has given him less stress compared to his past PalaCASan games with the other organization.

"Compared to other orgs, yung GeneSoc mababait tsaka very organized kaya masaya maglaro. Very effective pati yung team captain, alam niya kung saan ilalagay at kung paano maglalaro yung players," said John Rex Sicat, GeneSoc import for three years, when asked about how was his entire experience in playing for the org.

Meanwhile, GeneSoc Women's Basketball Team made a comeback from last year's 8th spot finish to 3rd place run this season as they ripped The UPLB Chemical Kinetics Society (CHEMO), 23-18, on Friday, November 20, at LBNHS.
The UPLB Genetics Society Men's Basketball Team.

The UPLB Genetics Society Women's Basketball Team clinching 2nd runner up win.
"Motivation talaga namin yung org mismo, kasi para naman yun sa GeneSoc eh. It was a long way from the start, pero teamwork talaga yung nagdala samin. Lahat team player, lahat naka-focus sa game, lahat gusto manalo," said Megan Benigno, captain and the team's consistent top scorer.

Gambalan  clinches 2-peat women's badminton title

History repeated itself as Katrina Gambalan defended the title against UPLB COSS Audrey Grecia on November 18, Wednesday, at Centtro Badminton Arena.

Gambalan managed to sweep the deciding game over Grecia, darting across the court to return some of the opponent's trickiest shots.

GeneSoc veteran made the opponent unable to slay her of the tournament as Gambalan made quick work of the second set, beating long-time arch-rival Grecia, and making herself the two-time GeneSoc badminton heroine.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

GeneSoc upsets SAM-UP, leads the finals series 1-0

THE UPLB GENETICS SOCIETY comes back from a double-digit deficit and went on their absolute fourth quarter run to bury the on-court rival Society of Applied Mathematics of UP (SAM-UP), 78-74, on Thursday, November 19, at the Los Baños National High School covered court.

Steered by Gian Vergara and Albert Torre, GeneSoc hit gigantic shots down the stretch to take the momentum of the game and held on the rest of the way for the victory.

Vergara finished with a team-high 28 points while Torre registered 26 points. Moran also kept the clutch in the entire game finishing with 24 points.

SAM-UP was up by 24 in the second quarter, had a chance to close the game and nail the first win in the championship series, but will now instead hope for a comeback tomorrow in Game 2.

Nag-aadjust kami, hindi pa makuha ng players yung rhythm nila, so nag-strive kaming hanapin yung rhythm at hindi kami sumuko kaya eventually nung third at fourth [quarter] nakahabol kami,” said team captain and last year’s MVP, Gian Vergara.

Teamwork at yung suporta talaga ng Genes yung dahilan kung bakit kami nanalo,” he added.

Selva led SAM-UP with 29 points, with back-up numbers from Abella at 16 points and Lagman with 10 points.

A 3-ball by SAM-UP kept their lead by two points to make it a 69-71 game during the remaining minutes of the fourth quarter. GeneSoc answered to tie the score and caged another point to push the lead to two, 73-71, courtesy of Moran.

SAM-UP then hit another triple to make it a 73-74 game with only 20 seconds remaining on the clock.
GeneSoc then answered as Vergara was fouled, thus pitching in three more points to snatch the lead, 76-74 with only 8 seconds left. Torre was then fouled as he ran towards the basket thus adding two more points to conclude the game, 78-74.

GeneSoc cagers are set to face another nail-biting game tomorrow and hope to take the 2-peat championship title past SAM-UP.

Quarter Scores: 7-15, 21-45, 46-67, 78-74

Friday, November 13, 2015

GeneSoc alum visits IBS, talks on Metabolomics

Last November 13, the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS)-CAS, UPLB held a special lecture on metabolomics, its applications and importance. The guest speaker for the said lecture was GeneSoc alumnus Dr. Walter A. Laviña (Batch Polysomes). 

Resident members, IBS professors and students attend the
special seminar on Metabolomics. (Photo: GeneSoc)
Metabolomics refers to the systematic study of metabolites - small molecules that are intermediates and products of cellular processes. The collection of all metabolites is called the metabolome. The relative new science is now being rapidly adopted by healthcare, food, agriculture and environmental industries.

Dr. Laviña earned both his undergraduate degree in Biology (1994) and master of science degree in Microbiology (2000) in UPLB. He later pursued his doctoral degree at the Department of Advanced Science and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University in 2013. At present, he is a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Bioresource Engineering (Fukusaki Lab), Osaka University. 

The seminar held at IBS Lecture Hall 3 (IBSLH3) was attended by professors, undergraduate and graduate students of the Institute.

Here is a short video of the question and answer portion of the seminar by Dr. Walter A. Laviña.
Posted by The UPLB Genetics Society on Friday, November 13, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

UPLBCAAA confers Distinguished Alumnus award to GeneSoc Charter member Dr. Peter Guzman

Dr. Peter Guzman is one of  UPLBCAAA's
Distinguished Alumni for 2015

(Photo: Peter Guzman/Facebook)
The University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture Alumni Association (UPLBCAAA) recently conferred the College Distinguished Alumnus Award for Science and Technology in the field of Plant Breeding to Dr. Peter Guzman for his contributions in plant breeding. The award was presented during the 97th UPLB Loyalty Day and Alumni Homecoming last October 9. 

The Distinguished Alumnus award is the highest award given to the alumni of the college. It recognizes graduates who have excelled in their fields and provided significant contributions to society. 

Dr. Guzman (BSA '86 cum laude, MS '93) is a former UPLB professor and commercial pipeline breeder of Monsanto. He obtained his doctorate degree from Iowa State University, and a post-doctorate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is also an Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) awardee in 2002. 

Dr. Guzman was cited for his contributions to agricultural instruction, research and extension, as well as his breakthroughs at Monsanto. At UPLB, Dr. Guzman had a pivotal role on developing a graduate course on the then emerging field of molecular plant breeding, while his extension work included the formulation and implementation of a seed production and distribution program for yellow and white corn varieties, benefiting around 20,000 resource poor farmers in the country. At Monsanto, he led in the establishment of the company's Harrisburg Corn Research Station in South Dakota, USA.

According to a press statement, Dr. Guzman noted that his work at Monsanto allowed him to discover breakthrough solutions that improve the lives of our farmers. With regards to the recognition, he mentioned that it will serve as an inspiration in continuing his research on modern agricultural practices to address the pressing problems of food security and sustainability.

Dr. Peter Guzman is a charter member of The UPLB Genetics Society.

The following is the citation of his award.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

NIGQC 2015: UP Baguio cops another championship title

By Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch) | Mika Maravilla (Riboprobes)

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA – University of the Philippines Baguio reigned as the 6th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest (NIGQC) champion surpassing ten other participating schools nationwide yesterday, November 7, 2015, at Umali Auditorium, SEARCA, UP Los Baños.

This year’s champion team is composed of three senior BS Biology students, namely, Micah Dispo, Roselyn Solomon, and Jericho Allain Kyle Vidad, together with Mr. Enrico Jugadora as their coach. The team received P15,000.00 in cash, certificate of recognition, plaque, and medals.

This year's NIGQC champion, UP Baguio, as they receive the award together with the judges and NIGQC heads.
UP Baguio is remarkable in NIGQC history for bagging the championship title during the first installment of the quiz contest in 1998. On the second edition of NIGQC in 2000, they won as the second placer. Last year, with over fourteen universities competing, the team finished at the fourth spot.

“It was so hard but it was definitely worth it. The event was great by the way and you know we’re grateful for this opportunity,” said Dispo. The team also revealed that they would like to give justice to their school’s ranking last year hence the eagerness to once again snatch the victory this time.

Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) came in at second and third spot, receiving P7,500.00 and P5,000.00 in cash, respectively.

Johanne Michael Flores of Ateneo de Manila U,
the Individual Exam topnotcher.
Despite the 1st runner-up finish this year, Ateneo still managed to clinch the top spot in the Individual Examination Round courtesy of Johanne Michael Flores.

This year’s NIGQC was packed with brain-draining questions in line with the theme Medical Genetics: Paving the way for Innovations in Health Sciences. Among the people who graced the event was the esteemed panel of judges including UPLB’s resident genetics experts Dr. Merlyn Mendioro and Professor Emeritus Azucena Carpena, and medical doctors Adrian Oscar Bacena, Ma-am Joy Tumulak, and Catherine Lynn Silao.

A total of eleven (11) universities participated in this year’s NIGQC. Along with the winners, the rest of the participating schools included Bicol University (BU), De La Salle Lipa (DLSL), Far Eastern University (FEU), Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU), St. Scholastica’s College Manila (SSC-M), Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), University of the Philippines Manila (UPM), and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Participants, coaches, and judges of this year's NIGQC 
together with GeneSoc members.

The event, hosted and organized by The UPLB Genetics Society, was in cooperation with Livestock Biotechnology Center and Diamed Enterprise, in partnership with the Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and UPLB University Student Council, and sponsored by Eat-sumo Teri Haus, Signeffex, MyPrint Zone, USAID, When In Manila, Kwiknet, and Berry’s Cuisine.#